Monday, 24 February 2014

[REVIEW] Buried by Matt Shaw

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Read from February 21 to 23, 2014 - I own a copy, read count: 1

Would my family betray me? Am I worthy enough to be saved? I am scared. Is this really the end of me? But I don't want to die now.

These are the questions that kept playing on Todd's mind. His disorientated mind made him question his parent's love for him and his sister's loyalty to him. He regrets the things he didn't do enough to be loved and cherished by them when he was free and able.

As he lay confined in his small restrictive box, he tried to piece together why is he trapped here. His memories was fragmented and poisoned by wild hallucinations which only thickens the longer he stays in the box. What is true and what is merely his cruel mind playing games with him? Even so, Todd cherished these broken memories however twisted they are as they are his sole companion to get his mind off his suffocating situation.

What I Liked
The author did a great job with the flashbacks. The flashbacks was infused with twisted hallucinations which projects the protagonist's helplessness and the his claustrophobic experience really well. So well that I started having morbid thoughts myself: like keeping a sharp tool hidden on my body just in case what happened to Todd happened to me. This book gives me cold sweat as I do have phobia of being buried alive. Such a sick way to go you know. Worst possible way really. I was all jittery even before I started reading it. I am hopeless I know.

Was I Spooked?
Maybe it's because of me having high expectation before reading it and I was fully expecting to be incapacitated by fear after reading it, that's why I was pretty surprised that this isn't the case for me at all. I am not saying that I wasn't the least affected by the sufferings of the poor guy crammed into a small box. I am, hence the earlier morbid thoughts. It could be that it was told in first person's view and the environment wasn't detailed enough to rub more of the fear factor in or something.

In terms of plotting, this book nailed it. It kept me speculating throughout the story and I am glad to say I kept getting it wrong. Now that's a good thing especially when it comes to story with a mystery to solve. I also love all the mindfuckings this book dealt me and it is a good read that kept me turning the pages. I just expect a little more on the fear factor. So this is more like a 3.8 rounded up to 4 stars for me.

About the Ending and in Answer to Author's Note
I am much relieved the author didn't go with his initial idea of having a silly ending. The current ending was a good pick as it brought a whole new meaning to the story and includes some moral values as well. I liked the twist where..
Kayla was actually dead and just a figment of Todd's imagination in his desperation to escape his wretched reality. She is much like a guardian angel eventhough at first I thought she's a vengeful ghost wanting to claim her brother's soul to accompany her in the netherworld. Hey, it's a horror book, one would understandably expect scary stuff like that right? Aside from that Kayla twist, I also think that Todd's grief over her beloved sister's dead leading him to self-destruction habits fits really well with the story and it left a chance of redemption in the eyes of the readers when they eventually found out what actually happened to him at the end of the story.

Yes I liked the current ending although I don't mind...
a 'darker ending' like the one where the Todd didn't make it. I wouldn't be upset with it - just make it a memorable one is all I ask for. *the dark side of me in control at the moment* This is horror after all so HEA can go fuck itself! When you strike, you strike hard and make it count. I would rather have a memorable ending than one that doesn't fit well with the entire story just because of wanting to conform with the demands of the general request for silver-lining. Just my 2-cents and I am in no way saying the current ending suck kay. It works too.

Side Note
Thanks to this book, little-moth-me have found several films featuring this morbid theme of live burials. I am going to list them here just in case they pique your interest too:

Knowing a curious cat like me, I couldn't say no to these wicked films and will absolutely be watching them slowly. I know that this wouldn't be a good idea to dispel my fear of live burials, I just can't stop myself from wanting to know more. >_<; 

I am reading this book because of this image and its blurb....
The image disturbed me a lot. Yet I couldn't help but to find it mesmerizingly beautiful.
Image Credit: yd84 @

Title: Buried
Author: Matt Shaw
Publication Date: August 4th, 2012
Publisher: Indie publishing
Type: Short Story, 12,840 words (approximate)
Genre: Horror Mystery Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Tags/Keywords: coffin, buried alive, box, confinement, captivity, claustrophobia, claustrophobic, young man, suffocating, unstable mind, hallucination, cramped, mindfuck

I've stopped panicking now. Not because I'm not scared. I just know panicking won't help the situation. It'll only serve to make it worse. Need to try and remain calm for as long as possible. Control my breathing. Save my oxygen. I breathed in and coughed. The air in here is stale. I hope I'm not in here for long. Please, dad. Don't let me be here for long. Please. I started to cry. Helpless.

* * * * *

The day after his 21st Birthday Party, Todd woke to find himself trapped in a box with nothing but broken memories for company. Told through his eyes, live his fear and feel his claustrophobia as he frantically tries to piece together what happened, who buried him and why in Matt Shaw's new horror novella.

Cover Design: Yaryshev Evgeny (

* Reviewed on February 24th, 2014


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